Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole yesterday expressed solidarity with the labour unions and civil society groups over protests against the removal of fuel subsidy.
The governor said they have a right to stage peaceful protests against any policy they feel aggrieved about.
Addressing protesters at the Government House in Benin City, the state capital, led by the state Chairman of the Nigeria Labaour Congress (NLC), Comrade Emmanuel Ademokun, and Trade Union Congress (TUC) Chairman, Comrade Joe Aligbe, the governor noted that the government feels the pains of the people following the subsidy removal.
He said the issues would eventually be resolved through dialogue
Oshiomhole said: “I appreciate the challenge arising from the increase. I appreciate the hardship the people are going through and, therefore, I appreciate why people have come out to protest. I want to assure you that I will convey the letter dutifully to the President.”
To the unions, the governor said: “You have a duty to ensure that in line with our tradition that those with political motives, with ethnic motives, with religious motives do not come under the legitimate protest to play up certain sentiments that will divide our people.”
Oshiomhole argued that Nigerians are one and the same in prosperity or poverty, adding that they are free to choose where they live.
The governor urged labour unions and civil society groups to ensure that the protest is not distorted by those with selfish motives.
“This is our country. We cannot run away from it. Let me use this opportunity to reassure the people of Edo State that government is aware of the challenge confronting them as a result of the changes in prices. I am confident that the Federal Government and the leadership of civil societies would resolve these issues around dialogue,” he added.
Ademokun presented a letter to the governor for delivery to the President.
The labour leader urged Dr Jonathan to revert to N65 per litre, adding that the hardship of the subsidy removal was biting hard on the masses.
Labour has right to protest, says Oshiomhole